Speech to Land Forces 2022

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The Hon Pat Conroy MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for International Development and the Pacific

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4 October 2022

Premier Palaszczuk;

Chief of Army;

Members of the AMDA Foundation,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I’d like to start by acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.

The Land Forces Expo plays a unique role in Australia’s Defence ecosystem, and I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person.

It brings together Australian and international industry, Defence and academia.

Ingenuity, insight and innovation are at the heart of this event.

They’re also central to our Government’s vision for the future of Australia’s defence.

We’re all aware of the challenges we face.

I will bring leadership and energy to my role, as we work together to deliver for the ADF and the nation.

The Albanese Government is committed to investing $270 billion on crucial defence capabilities over the next decade.

As Minister for Defence Industry, I am laser-focused on ensuring these funds are spent wisely and well.

Firstly, by ensuring Defence acquisition projects are delivered on time, so the ADF has the capability to defend the nation;

And secondly, by supporting the growth of an industrial base here in Australia, able to provide the support the ADF needs.

Every purchase, every decision needs to make Australia stronger and more secure.

We need to grow our industrial base to meet the challenge of sustaining and maintaining existing capabilities.

We need to do this at the same as acquiring and supporting the next generation of game-changing technologies.

We face the most complex strategic challenges since World War Two.

We must prioritise the areas of greatest importance for the ADF.

That’s why we’ve begun by delivering on our election commitment for a Defence Force Strategic Review…

As you know, it’s led by the former Minister for Defence, Professor Stephen Smith, and the former Chief of the Defence Force, Sir Angus Houston.

Work is well underway.

Their Review will shape our investments, for the ADF to deal with current and future strategic circumstances for Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.

It will ensure Defence’s capability and force structure is fit for purpose and delivers the greatest return on investment.

Addressing our strategic challenges will require an imaginative, better-designed, whole-of-nation approach to defence industry.

This will be the purpose of the Government’s Defence Industry Development Strategy, which will respond to the Strategic Review.

It will set out the framework, direction and principles underpinning defence industry policy for the foreseeable future.

It’s clear to me we have considerable work to do to make sure we have a sovereign defence industrial base, and that means growing more medium-sized businesses in Australia.

There’s no time to lose.

We face a deteriorating strategic environment. Speedy delivery of capability for the ADF will be paramount.

So will collaboration with trusted, like-minded and technologically capable partners.

If we have a strong partnership between Defence and industry, and clarity from Government on the areas of greatest importance, we can deliver a decisive competitive advantage.

The stresses on supply chains are still fresh in our minds.

We know the importance of building a strong sovereign industrial capability.

This includes supporting Australian defence industry companies to diversify through exports, so businesses can grow, innovate and ultimately support Defence’s future needs.

And, it will include working in partnership with the states and territories to have the right skills, at the right time, to deliver the defence projects that are fundamental to our national security.

All of this serves the same, overarching goal making sure that the men and women of the ADF have the capability they need, when they need it, to keep our country safe and secure.

There are more than 700 companies exhibiting at Land Forces this year.

These companies have the potential to make a vital contribution to our mission.

Whether it’s through the wide-ranging presentations, or the informal discussions, I hope you all find Land Forces 2022 to be interesting, useful and engaging.

It is now my pleasure to declare the Conference officially open.




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